You’ve got to love Leeds. After months of whinging that ‘Summer’s not what it was last year’, the same people are now moaning that it’s too hot.
Well, you won’t see me complaining. I took full advantage of writing this column on an extended lunch in the sunshine at The Potting Shed in Halifax, who have one of the slickest outdoor terraces you’ll find in Yorkshire.
Their food is well worth digging into too, especially the meatball marinara from their new pizza oven. Fingers crossed this weather holds out so I can get a much-needed day off spent basking in the waters of Ilkley Lido, or Roundhay Park at the very least.
Back in the city, I’ve been working my way through the latest menus at some of my favourites. Over at Chaophraya, their fiery red Thai pancakes are really doing the business for me, and even more perfect when washed down with an ice-cold Singha. Banyan have also just dropped a new menu and the City Square terrace is one of the best in the city to soak up the sunshine. I can’t wait to reveal news of our next project with these guys.
Another cool new kid on the dining scene is the Whitehall Restaurant & Bar over at Wellington Street. Sitting pretty at West Point, Whitehall boasts a glorious wraparound terrace and tasty menu packed with British and Mediterranean delights. If you stuck on what to choose, the king scallops with crispy pancetta and king prawn pappardelle really hit the spot.
On the other side of town, Blue Sakura continue to go from strength to strength and have unleashed an amazing express lunch menu for those looking for a light bite alternative to their formidable all-you-can eat offering. The Blue Sakura special ramen is a game-changer!
In terms of launch parties, I can’t remember the last time we had one as big as Dollhouse. The brainchild of music maestro Tom Zanetti and DJ/entrepreneur Kane Towning, Dollhouse is by far the most Insta-worthy bar Leeds has ever seen.
It’s basically an adult’s playground and features eye-popping interiors, premium cocktails, VIP tables and live entertainment and DJs. If you’re looking for a space for the ultimate blowout, then I suggest you hit them up.
We’re also working on other launches coming to Yorkshire with Manahatta bringing the party to Harrogate, Zaap Thai taking it to York, Harvey Nichols’ new 4th floor bar, Roxy Arcade and Head Of Steam taking over Park Row.
This year saw me pop my Great Yorkshire Show cherry, and what a day that was. As well as awesome food and drink vendors on display (my favourite being Slingsby’s), there was entertainment, the legendary Cock O’the North competition and an overall sense of pride about just how great this part of the country is.
The last Cocoon in the Park was bittersweet for me and my mates, but a worthy send-off. We had the best time and can’t wait to see what the team come up with next. It really got me in the mood for tomorrow’s Symphonic Sounds of Back to Basics, which will be epic.
Another date in my diary is Oracle’s 15th Birthday. I’m super proud of what Pink Gorilla’s boss lady Deborah de Vittoris and her team have achieved there. To last that long in a fast changing industry takes a lot of work, and we’ll celebrate in a suitably raucous fashion, mark my words.